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Palm LifeDrive Handheld
Seven pounds lighter than your laptop, the LifeDrive mobile manager has all you need to take your life on the road. Carry all your... Read More
Seven pounds lighter than your laptop, the LifeDrive mobile manager has all you need to take your life on the road. Carry all your important files and have them when you need them. With 3.85 GB of usable storage, you can store and access years worth of e-mail, thousands of Word docs, 1200 PowerPoint presentations, 300 songs, 1000 photos, 2.5 hours of video, and more...all with room to spare. And your information is always safe on your LifeDrive mobile manager, even if you're too busy to recharge the battery. LifeDrive smart file management. You have better things to do with your time than manage files. With new LifeDrive technology, you can quickly drag and drop thousands of files from your PC onto your LifeDrive mobile manager with the folder structure intact. Select the files you want to keep in sync, and they'll automatically be updated whenever you sync with your computer. Plus, you can use your LifeDrive mobile manager like you would any other USB drive to easily upload files to any PC or Mac. Minimize
35 Reviews from Epinions.com
Dec 22, 2005
Palm Life Drive
Pros: Great display, 3.85GB hard drive, wireless internet capabilities, Bluetooth compatable, great programs.
Cons: Lags when accessing programs, music skips when LD is accessing the hard drive.
The Bottom Line:
I recommend this if you are a Palm lover, and if you know how to tinker with computers. Otherwise, stick with the new Palm TX which is more user friendly.
When I decided to buy a new PDA, I did my research. Using www.pcworld.com, www.consumerreports.com, and www.amazon.com, I narrowed it down to the Dell Axim 53v and Palm LifeDrive. I actually went to the mall to hold the Dell (they have a Dell stand.) I went to Comp USA to check out the LD (hey, it was Black Friday, Best Buy was too crowded.)
The LD won out by a LANDSLIDE. It is the first handheld/PDA to have a hard drive on it. The hard drive is 3.85GB, so obviously it felt very substantial. It feels VERY sturdy. I accidentally dropped it out of my purse onto our concrete garage floor and it still worked fine. No damage. It isn't shirt pocket sized, but it easily fits into my pants pocket and it fits well into the oversized cell phone pocket of my purse. It comes with an adequate black case, which has a hole in it to accommodate the headphone plug. You can buy optional hard cases that have a pop open cover (like a book.) I find the case that came with it to be to my liking though. It has a nice sized color screen that has an amazing display. It has a small button on the side so that you can switch into landscape mode quickly. It is crystal clear. It also has a very sturdy pop-up stylus. The unit is a silver gray color, which is fine. It has a USB and recharging cord with it (I purchased an optional car recharger.) It also has a headphone jack (It does not come with headphones) on the bottom of the unit. It runs Palm Garnet 5.4.
For standard PDA features, it works well. I was able to use Microsoft Outlook to put all of my names, address, and e-mail addresses into the Life Drive. It comes with a nice calendar program that also synchs with Outlook. You can use alarms with the LD turned off AND in lock mode , and your calendar will display your daily tasks when it is opened. If you arent an Outlook user, it comes with Palm Desktop software where you can put your daily tasks, addresses, etc... And they will sync when you synch your LD with your computer. I tried this option in addition to synching it with Outlook to see which I preferred. I have been using Outlook for years, so I went with that. It also has a calculator, memos, task list, expense list, and a cool notepad feature that I use frequently. You can write notes with your own handwriting as opposed to the Palm Graffiti, or the on screen keyboard. It is much faster to make quick notes this way, and it has allowed me to eliminate the millions of Post-Its that were lingering around my house and in my purse.
It has other nice features in addition to its PDA features-- like an MP3 player (you can put WMA's on it with an upgrade to the included PTunes program.) I only have two albums uploaded thus far, but the sound is great. It has an integrated speaker on the rear of the unit, but really shines with headphones attached. I even got an adapter so that I could hook it up to my car stereo. That works well too. The main problem with the music is that, sometimes, when you are playing music and you access another program, it skips very quickly (its the hard drive accessing files.) For me, that isnt a huge problem because the kip is very quick. It really bothers some people though.
Another excellent feature is the included media viewer. You can view and store TONS of digital photos and video on it. You can drag and drop them from your computer into the desktop Palm program, then they will transfer to the LD when you hot synch. , or you can pop your cameras SD card into the slot on the LD and put media on the LifeDrive that way (memory sticks arent a supported format, and to date, there is no adapter that I am aware of.) I really like this feature. Its great if you want to empty your cameras memory card so that you can take more photos while you are out. I just tried this and had several hundred photos and some videos that copied very quickly and look great on the Life Drive.
You can surf the net with it, IF you have access to wireless internet. If you have broadband on your home pc/mac, you can buy a Blue Tooth USB adapter to give you wireless internet on your LD at home. I dont have broadband, but I was able to use this feature at my church. I went to network settings, and it accessed my churchs wireless network with no effort. I was then able to surf the net using the included Blazer web browser. I downloaded a few recipes I needed for when I went to the grocery store that day. It was fun, but it took a while for pages to download. Its also a bit awkward to view pages on such a small screen when youre used to using a desktop computer. The landscape mode helps with this a bit, but it is still hard to get used to. Mine came with a free 7 day T-Mobile Hotspot subscription. It must be used with in 7 continuous days and comes in handy when you are at bookstores and coffee shops to check your web mail, or get an update from your favorite website. You can also buy hotspot cards from office supply stores or subscribe on the internet. Many people on the web have mentioned that their LD does a soft reset when they use Blazer. Mine has done so twice thus far. It is an annoying glitch, but is not really any different than the lock/ups or shutdowns that happen when using your desktop pc.
I haven't been able to download e-mails from my computer (non-wirelessly) yet using the included Versamail. Ive been working on it for weeks with no luck. I assumed it would download e-mails from Outlook when I hot synched the LD to my computer, but it didnt. It did, however, send an e-mail that I composed on the LifeDrive. I like the idea of being able to write out an e-mail when Im running errand or waiting in line, then just synching the LD to my computer, and off goes the e-mail!!
Another feature that I have found useful is the included Data Viz Documents to Go. With this program you can create and edit Word, Excel, and Power Point documents. When you synch with your computer, they will be updated there. I will admit, that creating/ editing is tedious using Graffiti or the on screen keyboard. This is why I bought a Blue Tooth wireless keyboard to use with it. My keyboard is portable (and another review.) I mainly use it when I am somewhere and dont have access to my desktop pc. It sometimes takes a couple of times to get the keyboard connected using BT, but once I do, it works pretty well. I create blog entries on it, and edit the book I am writing (frequently.) The main problem is that using Blue Tooth decreases battery life.
Other interesting features: Five programmable buttons on the front of the unit, and a favorites mode where you can configure the order of the programs and how they are viewed in favorites mode (accessed by pressing the home button twice.) You can download ebooks to it through eReader (which is included.)It comes with Adobe Acrobat reader (which I have yet to use.)A program called LD Add It comes pre-installed. This program will download news from your desktop internet connection when you hot synch to your desktop. Your computer must be connected to the internet when you hot synch for this to happen. It also has a hard drive mode that you can use to copy files from your computer to the Life Drive acting as a jump drive of sorts. In addition, there is a voice recorder with a recording button on the side of the unit. I have found that, although audible, the recordings sound like you are talking into a tin can. They are a bit scratchy too. For fun, it has solitaire. It works fine, it is standard video solitaire, what can I say?
One problem that plagues this unit is that it has a lag from the time you activate a program until it opens. It can take two or three second sometimes. That can be fixed with a program called Shark Cache- http://www.ludustech.com/sharkcache. It sells for $10.00. It allows you to put 4mb of programs into cache so that they will start up immediately when you try to access them. It wont hold all of the programs, but it comes in very handy for the programs you use on a daily basis.
I have had my unit since Thanksgiving and have enjoyed it. Ill admit that it has its flaws for sure, but if you dont mind playing with technology, they are workable. They definitely dont render the LD unusable for me.
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